Discover the Snowiest Place in Michigan

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: February 17, 2023
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One of the most picturesque states to visit year-round is probably Michigan. This state offers a wide range of outdoor pursuits and tourist attractions in the summer, but it may get very snowy there in the winter. In fact, one of the snowiest communities in Michigan is Houghton. Houghton is among the coldest and snowiest places in the US, with an annual average snowfall of approximately 202 inches. It is most certainly the snowiest place in Michigan! Let’s learn more about what this frigid city has to offer.

History of Houghton, MI

Houghton County was named after Douglass Houghton, the first geologist in the state of Michigan. Between 1840-1841, Douglass Houghton surveyed the area and found several deposits of copper ore which then helped spark the greatest mining boom in American history. In 1843, the state of Michigan divided the upper peninsula in which the area of Houghton is located. Among six divisions in 1845, Houghton County was established. The American mining boom that Houghton triggered, eventually made Michigan to be the largest copper producer in the country. Michigan actually made up 88% of America’s copper, with Houghton producing 79% of that alone!

Average Snowfall Per Year

Cross country skiing in Michigan

In the winter you can cross country ski the hiking trail up Indian Point and since the snow usually isn’t that heavy it’s a really pleasant skiing trail.

©Christopher Tipton/

While Houghton is known for its copper, it is also known for being one of the snowiest cities in Michigan. It has an average of 202 inches of snowfall per year! The winters here are very cold, with lows ranging anywhere from 22 degrees to -4 degrees. While the winters can be quite chilly, the summers are much more bearable since the temperature never really exceeds 77 degrees. While the temperatures remain on the lower side year-round for this city, the precipitation is also frequent. For nearly 150 days on average, Houghton sees approximately 32 inches of rain on top of the heavy amounts of snow it already receives.


As of 2022 Around 9,000 people currently reside in the city of Houghton, MI. In terms of population, it ranks 4614th nationwide and 118th in Michigan. As for population density, spanning over 5 miles, there are an average of 2,054 people per square mile.


Because Houghton is located in the upper peninsula, wildlife is incredibly abundant here. In Houghton, you may spot the occasional moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, squirrel, and other small mammals. Even the wild turkey and bald eagle can be spotted here. It is also home to various species of birds and fish. As for insects and plants, Houghton is filled with them. Your average insects, such as monarch butterflies, bees, beetles, and moths, are often found here, but as for plants, there’s an even bigger natural variety. In fact, winterberry holly is extremely common here, as are sweet peas, marigolds, and even red maples. Houghton is one of the top cities to visit year-round if you want to learn about the various forms of wildlife in the area.

Copper and Mining

Snow in Michigan

Snow in Michigan

©Rachel Goad/

Since Houghton is rich in copper and was one of the original cities to help trigger one of the greatest American mining booms, you can expect to learn about copper and mining when visiting this town. It is the center of what is popularly known as “Copper County” and has many nearby towns, businesses, and roads that have been heavily influenced by and even named after the great copper mining boom. Although the copper mining industry is mostly done these days, Houghton’s history is still rich with it. Copper mining in Michigan has a long history that dates back to the Stone Age.

Early settlers discovered copper tools and mines that the native Americans had left behind. There were rumors of mineral riches because the federal government and Jesuit missionaries looked for them in the Upper Great Lakes area. In-depth scientific descriptions of the copper deposits were provided in Douglass Houghton’s geological survey from 1840. After a further 150 years, the last of the mines were forced to close in the 1960s due to the cost of underground mining. In Houghton, the local economy is now centered around Michigan Tech, the Michigan College of Mines.

In Conclusion

While the city of Houghton is well known for its massive amounts of snowfall, this city is also rich with history, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes that often leave both the residents and incoming visitors awestruck. It is home to many people who adore not only nature but also its story. This city is a true snowy gem that is a must-see for anyone who appreciates Mother Nature’s beauty and the story of America.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nzeemin / Creative Commons – License / Original

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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